Remains of WWII soldier killed during longest battle in US Army history returned to Dayton, Tenn.

Regional News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The remains of a WWII Army soldier killed during the longest battle in the military branch’s long history will be interred Aug. 14 in Dayton, Tennessee.

Pvt. Warren G.H. DeVault, 24, of Rhea, killed during the Battle of Hürtgen Forest, was accounted for Sept. 14, 2020, according to a release Friday from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

In November 1944, DeVault was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. His unit was engaged in battle with German forces near Hürtgen, Germany, when he was reportedly killed in action on Nov. 20. DeVault could not be recovered because of the ongoing fighting, and his remains were not recovered or identified.

After four years of investigations in the area, DeVault was declared non-recoverable in January 1952.

While studying unresolved American losses in Hürtgen, a DPAA historian determined that one set of unidentified remains buried in Ardennes American Cemetery in 1951 possibly belonged to DeVault. The remains were disinterred in April 2019 and DeVault was identified through circumstantial evidence, as well as dental, anthropological, and DNA analysis.

The Battle of Hürtgen Forest lasted nearly three months from Sept. 19 to Dec. 16, 1944. The forest sits on the border of Belgium and Germany.

DeVault’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margarten, Netherlands, along with the others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

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